Photo of Tempest
by Carrie Meyer of The Dancer's Eye
As a Witch:
Tempest has been an actively practicing Pagan and Modern Traditional Witch for over 20 years. She founded the Cauldron of Annwyn Pagan Society in New England (the largest open path group in New England while it was active 1998-2001), started the first Rhode Island Pagan Pride Day, was the Associate Editor of Crescent Magazine: A Pagan Publication of Art, Philosophy, & Belief (1998-2004), and was the youngest attendee of the Pagan Leaders Summit that took place in Bloomington, IN in 2001. After about a decade of taking a break from being publicly active in the Pagan Community, she began blogging about Witchcraft, revamping the Modern Tradition of Witchcraft website, and dancing across the lines.
As an author:
In May of 2017, Laura Tempest Zakroff released her first book, The Witch's Cauldron - part of the Witch's Tool series from Llewellyn Worldwide. Her second book, Sigil Witchery, will be released January 2018. She is currently working on The Witch's Altar with Jason Mankey, as well as a book on Modern Traditional Witchcraft (2019). Visit www.lauratempestzakroff.com for more info.
As an artist and designer:
Laura is a professionally trained visual artist, receiving her BFA in Printmaking from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), and having trained at Fleisher Art Memorial in Philadelphia and the South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts. Her artwork has received awards and honors worldwide, and has been published in numerous books and magazines. Previously involved in the fashion jewelry industry, she now designs and sculpts jewelry designed for the esoterically-minded, in addition to creating fine art and graphic design. Laura's work blends traditional and modern media with an aesthetic that spans numerous cultures and centuries, defying labels and boxes. She is inspired by myth and mystery, extreme detail and dreams, mixing the macabre with fantasy and wonder. Websites: www.owlkeyme.com & www.magodjinn.com
As a professional dance performer/instructor:
Tempest is the most recognized name associated with Gothic & Steampunk Fusion Bellydance in North America and across the world. Tempest pulls from her visual arts background, literary tendencies, and global inspirations to create dance that crosses the boundaries of time and culture. Her compellingly artful performances exemplify her distinctively theatrical, unique, and expressive style that are rooted in oriental dance technique with a transcendent approach. Tempest's fascination with sacred and ritual dance lead her to bellydance over 15 years ago, and the exploration of Myth is an important and recurring theme in her work. Website: www.darklydramatic.com
In addition to being mama to 3 cats, she is married to her artistic partner/collaborator, musician Nathaniel Johnstone. She can also be found performing percussion/keyboard as well as dancing with the Nathaniel Johnstone Band - a world fusion band - best described as "mythpunk." www.nathanieljohnstone.com
How did I get here?
My journey down this path has been an interesting one. At a young age, I spent many hours reading about ancient cultures and the occult, as well as many hours in my parents' backyard studying nature and working with it. I was given a Catholic education, but found myself constantly at odds with its belief systems and dogma. I looked into my father's religion of Judaism after hearing about "the Jewish Goddess" Shekinah, but still did not find what I needed. I remember about age twelve reading Marion Zimmer Bradley's The Mists of Avalon and wishing that religion was a real thing. Not long after did I discover it truly was in many forms, and that my beliefs did have a name and religion of their own--Witchcraft. And so I took the necessary direction in order to follow my path more deeply, studying and learning from teachers, mentors, and other Family. I was the head and founder of the Cauldron of Annwyn Pagan Society---an open-path collective of solitary Pagans who came together to network and celebrate in New England, co-founder of PYRAA-- The Pagan Youth Religion & Art Alliance, and was the Associate Editor and Creative Director of Crescent Magazine. I founded the first Pagan Pride Day in Rhode Island and was the regional coordinator for New England. I was very active in "all the things" Pagan until about 2004, and then slowly backed away. More about that, and coming back to being public again can be found here.